Gardening is a fantastic hobby that I love. In fact some of my most cherished memories as a child involved the garden and my family. I would really love to share some of these kinds of memories with my son. So today I thought I would share a few things I have done to plan and grow a Kid friendly garden.
Picking Perennial Crops for Kids
Picking types of plants kids enjoy is critical to them wanting to go into the garden. I have selected and planted a wide variety of perennial fruit crops that my son enjoys.
I tried to pick fruit crops that ripen at different times so there is always something snack ready in the garden. Current favourites are blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. I will be looking into adding blackberries to the orchard this year based on my son’s absolute love for them.
Picking Annual Crops for Kids
As most kids preferences for annual crops shift over time. I have kept a list of the annual fruits and vegetables he enjoys and will make sure to plant as many of them as I can. Having a few plants of each type has helped keep him interested in at least one crop while he may not be interested in others. If he is interested in harvesting at least one it will keep him coming back to the garden.
Current hits are peas, carrots and tomatoes. If I am running out of space ill pick the crops that we use more often in our cooking at home. If my son is not interested in them at the time they are ripe they won’t go to waste.
Picking Annual Crops for Older Kids
Once you have identified what you want to plant in your garden it is time to select a variety. I like to pick and plant Snack Ready Crops. These are things that with or with out a quick wash in the garden can be eaten right on the spot.
So instead of picking a large tomato I prefer to plant small cherry tomatoes. Getting your kid to help pick the types is also a great way to get them invested!
Location of plants is important! I have a small path that goes around my garden. I plant the kid friendly snack ready plants as close to the path as possible. It makes it a little easier for the kids to be able to pick their own while preventing them from wanting to go over plants to get to the one they want.
I have also placed my sons favourite crop strawberries at the back of the garden. This means he has to go all the way into the garden in order to get to them. While he passes he often stops to snack on others opening him up to more varieties he might not have otherwise eaten.
Older Kids Garden Plots
With older children I have often dedicated a space of the garden for them to plant. I have a blast going to the garden centre and letting them pick the plants they want to grow. This gives them the opportunity to learn about their food and exposes them to a wide variety of crops.
The sense of ownership gives a them pride and helping them take care of their area teaches them valuable gardening skills.
I also make sure to plant things like hot peppers and onions further back and out of reach of little hands.
Spend some time in there with them
Life is busy and life with or around kids is even more crazy. Even with everything on the go I try to make sure I spend time out in the garden with my son and any other kids that are interested. Spending time with my family in the garden and back yard are some of my most cherished memories and spending time with my son out there will hopefully give him the same wonderful memories.
Avoid making the garden a chore
Commonly when I speak to people about why they don’t enjoy gardening its because they see it as a chore. They often tell me its because when they were bad as children their punishment in the summer often involved weeding or other tasks in the garden.
I have spent a lot of time trying figure out the easiest and most effective way to garden. This work has helped me find ways to lower the amount of time I need to spend maintaining the garden allowing me to increase the amount of time I am able to simply enjoy the garden. As a result there are less tasks that may become the tedious and more time to snack and enjoy.
Children are naturally curios. I hope that if I give my son the opportunity to spend time in and around the garden he is not only going to have some fantastic memories but he will learn about where is food comes from.
If you have other tips or would like to know more about encouraging gardening with the children in your life I would love to discuss them with you in the comment section below.
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